NEWS ARCHIVE – June 2012
EUROPEAN UNION: Where’s Charlemagne When We Need Him?– New York Times, June 30, 2012 (Google link) – A new imperial construct embracing all nations, religions and non-totalitarian ideologies might well be the only alternative to the revival of tribalism with all its tragic consequences. And it will be the sacred task of leaders to make the rest of society see this as an exalted, almost religious goal: a new European faith that belongs to no church.
[And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. – Revelation 13:1]
British PM Cameron Open to Referendum on EU Ties – Globe and Mail (Canada), June 30, 2012 – Cameron, who has stressed that Britain will not endorse measures leading towards closer EU integration aimed at shoring up the troubled euro currency, warned that Britain was being swamped by European bureaucracy.
NORTH AMERICA: Beyond the Border Action Plan – Yahoo! Finance | Press Release: Public Safety Canada, Thu, Jun 28, 2012 Today, the Joint Statement of Privacy Principles was released by the Governments of Canada and the United States under the Beyond the Border Action Plan: A Shared Vision for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness….They represent an important step forward by creating a framework of common rules for the cross-border sharing of personal information. The principles provide Canadians and Americans the rules under which our two governments will collaborate to protect their privacy rights in implementing the Action Plan. “These principles put privacy at the forefront of the Border Action Plan and will help to ensure that the privacy rights of Canadians are respected as we work with the United States to secure our perimeter while accelerating and improving the legitimate flow of people, goods and services across our border,” said the Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety.
AFRICAN UNION & REGIONAL ORDER OUT OF CHAOS: Piracy Causing Wobbles in the East African Region – Netherlands Aid, June 30, 2012 – At this event, EU NAVFOR Force Commander Rear Admiral Jean-Baptiste Dupuis from the French Navy elaborated on a series of activities that his ship will conduct in order to get rid of the piracy threat which has been affecting a lot of the traffic on the Ocean….“A military action to prevent piracy must be accompanied by massive support from other partners, including the United Nations and the African Union, towards finding a political solution to Somalia, which is the main source of the problem,” remarked the ambassador.
REGION-BUILDING THE GCC: Combined Maritime Forces: U.S Global Naval Force in the Arabian Sea – Center for Research on Globalization, June 30, 2012 – Combined Task Force 152 operates in what Combined Maritime Forces refers to as the Arabian Gulf; that is, what most of the world knows as the Persian Gulf. The use of the first description is a naked affront to Iran and is meant to be just that. CTF 152 operates in conjunction with the navies of the six Gulf Cooperation Council member states: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
SAARC: Eurozone events should not deter South Asian union, says PM – New York Daily News, June 29, 2012 – “The events in the eurozone should not cast a shadow over our own efforts at building unity and eventually a South Asian union….The economic and political rise of post-War Europe was in no small measure due to the vision of thinkers like George Marshall and Jean Monnet. They believed that a stable, prosperous and united Europe was good for the world. That is as true today as it was then. I sincerely hope that the leaders of Europe will find in them the imagination and wisdom to preserve the European project that has served as a guiding light to regional cooperation elsewhere in the world, including South Asia,” [India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Friday].
EUROPEAN UNION: European leaders’ breakthrough defied expectations – Boston Globe | Associated press, June 29, 2012 – The decisions made at the European Union summit in Brussels won’t end the crisis that has gripped Europe for nearly three years….But for EU leaders who have consistently underwhelmed their exasperated publics and nervous financial markets, Friday’s plans marked a breakthrough.
NORTH AMERICA: Canada-U.S. security pact stirs privacy fears – Winnipeg Free Press, June 30, 2012 – A perimeter security deal with the United States puts the personal information of Canadians at risk because in some cases it allows the U.S. to pass those data to other countries without permission, says the federal privacy watchdog.
UNASUR: Unasur Suspends Paraguay Following Ouster of Lugo From Presidency – Wall Street Journal, June 29, 2012 – The Unasur union of South American nations suspended Paraguay Friday from the group following the ouster of the country’s former president, Fernando Lugo….On June 22, Paraguay’s opposition-controlled Senate voted to remove President Lugo, a 61-year-old leftist and former bishop, from office in a swift impeachment process that many governments in South America denounced as a legislative coup.
EURASEC (EURASIAN UNION): Eurasec Court to hear first case – BSR Russia, June 29, 2012 – The court of Post-Soviet economic bloc EurAsEC will hear its first ever economic dispute on Tuesday….Experts quoted by the paper say the lawsuit aims to draw attention to economically unjustified administrative barriers in trade between the EurAsEC member states, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. South Kuzbass is challenging some provisions of a decision by the Customs Union Commission, later renamed into the Eurasian Economic Commission, obliging companies exporting coal from Russia to file customs declarations.
ASEAN: Clinton Prepares for Major Asean Security Meeting – Voice of America, June 29, 2012 – The Asean Regional Forum will focus on security in Southeast Asia….For its part, China has said it would prefer to negotiate over the [South China] sea with individual countries, bilaterally, and that outside countries should not be involved. However, some analysts, like Sok Touch, dean of Khemarak University, say Asean members don’t have the power to negotiate equally with their juggernaut neighbor. Asean countries don’t have the armed forces of Western powers, so they need powerful allies to stand by them, he said.
REGION-BUIILDING THE AFRICAN UNION: IMF Institute for Capacity Development and Regional Multidisciplinary Centre of Excellence (RMCE) course on economic issues in regional integration funded by the European Union – StarAfrica, June 29, 2012 – The course’s overall objective was to broaden the participants understanding of various aspects of economic and monetary integration….The Regional Multidisciplinary Centre of Excellence (RMCE) serves as a capacity building and expertise hub for the regional economic communities of: the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA); East African Community (EAC); Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD); Indian Ocean Commission (IOC); Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and their combined 28 Member Countries. RMCE’s mandate also critically includes support to the COMESA-EAC-SADC Tripartite Process….The European Union is a long-standing supporter of the Eastern and Southern Africa-Indian Ocean region (ESA-IO)….Under the 10th European Development Fund (2008 – 2013), a financial envelope of EUR 645 million has been allocated to the ESA-IO to support regional economic integration
U.N. urges global help to equip force hunting warlord Kony – Yahoo!7 | Reuters, June 30, 2012 – The 15-nation Security Council endorsed a U.N. strategy that aims to fully equip by December the AU [African Union] force, which is due to have a full strength of 5,000 troops from South Sudan, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic (CAR).
US rules out military intervention in Islamist-dominated breakaway region of Mali
The Hill, June 29, 2012 – “We are coordinating closely with our mission in the United Nations to press the African Union and ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States] to define a clear mission for their proposed ECOWAS peacekeeping mission in Mali,” [Asst. Sec. of State Johnnie Carson] said in written testimony before the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Africa. “That said, we think an ECOWAS mission to militarily retake the north is ill-advised and not feasible. Still, the Obama administration is under pressure to restore democracy and territorial integrity to the country, which has turned into a hotbed for Islamic insurgents linked to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. ”
ASEAN: Global Impact of a China-Japan-South Korea Free Trade Agreement – China Briefing, June 29, 2012 – The success of a trilateral FTA, or even a China-South Korea FTA, would place South Korea in a precarious position due to its existing FTA with the United States. As it attempts to cultivate relationships with the United States and China, it will be forced to adopt non-aligned stances on both economic issues as well as the political issue of North Korea.
Asean’s relevance will increasingly be felt – New Straits Times, June 29, 2012 – Asean, after all, is evolving quickly into a community in significant sense of that term. It is working towards being a community of nations not just in the economic sphere but also in the political/security and cultural areas by 2015.
U.S. – REGION-BUILDING THE GCC, ARAB LEAGUE: Large military presence eyed in Kuwait – Arab Times Kuwait, Updated June 29, 2012 – The study by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee examined the US relationship with the six nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman — against a fast-moving backdrop….The report also recommended that the United States promote the development of the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League while strengthening bilateral links to the six countries; seek opportunities for burden-sharing on operations such as missile defense, combat air patrol and maritime security; and push for the integration of Iraq into the Arab fold.
UNASUR: Unasur will debate how to remove the group’s presidency from ‘illegitimate’ Paraguay – MercoPress, June 29, 2012 (Google Translation) – UNASUR a brain child of Brazilian diplomacy is made up of all South American countries, including Suriname and Guyana, and will also consider suspending Paraguay from the organization arguing Congress denied Lugo the right to a proper defence.
Paraguayan Government To Be Charged For Ousting President – Bernama (Malaysia), June 29, 2012 – The Paraguayan government will be charged in absentia during the Summit of South American Heads of State and Government in Argentina as an international reaction to the parliamentary coup that dismissed Constitutional President Fernando Lugo. The meeting which was extended till Friday was convened by the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR), but will also include the presence of the heads of state belonging to the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).
AFRICAN UNION: Largest Military Communications Exercise Concludes – AllAfrica, June 28, 2012 – During the remaining days of the exercise, participating nations and the African Union collaborated and coordinated troop response–between each other and African Union participants in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia–to a simulated earthquake in a fictitious country after deploying to a peacekeeping mission.
EURASIAN UNION: Eurasian modernization project (part 1) – Vestnik Kavkaza (Moscow), June 28, 2012 – Currently, the development of geopolitical and geoeconomic processes is influenced by two major interrelated trends – globalization and regionalization. The results of the global financial crisis of 2008-2009 proved that no country, no matter how powerful is its economic and political potential, can overcome global threats and challenges by itself. Therefore, one of the most important mechanisms of enhancing economic competitiveness, strengthening the political potential of modern states and ensuring their effective integration into world economic relations is regional integration. World practice shows many successful examples of such projects: Mercosur, the SCO, the EU, NAFTA, etc. The post-Soviet region has become one of the centers of the most intense development of integration processes.
Eurasian modernization project (part 2) – Vestnik Kavkaza (Moscow), June 28, 2012 – In general, the Eurasian project aims to multiply both the physical and the spiritual potential of the participating countries. The model of interaction between the Eurasian states is not the desire to revive the past, the common Soviet institutions, but the desire to achieve more effective and mutually-beneficial cooperation based on pragmatic calculations. The practice of Eurasian integration should destroy the negative stereotypes of Russian policy in the post-Soviet space, which is often perceived as a neo-imperial “desire” to constantly expand Russian influence.
Eurasian modernization project. Part 3 – Vestnik Kavkaza, June 29, 2012 – If the participants of Eurasian integration agree on monetary policy and establish a common central bank emitting a common supranational currency, common fiscal policy will be first on the agenda…..Therefore, time is needed for gradual development of the game rules which would be accepted by all the countries participating in the Customs Union and the integration union, despite their number. By 2020, currency, monetary, and control policies should be similar. International standards will ground monetary policy.
EUROPEAN UNION: European leaders agree to closer long-term union – USA Today | Associated Press, June 28, 2012 – Leaders of the full 27-member European Union, which includes non-euro countries such as Britain and Poland, also agreed to a long-term plan for a tighter budgetary and political union. The scale of the moves were unexpected and provided investors a reason for optimism, even as analysts cast doubt on the plans’ feasibility…
The indebted EU allots money to lecture others on democracy – Voice of Russia, June 28, 2012 – The announced intention of the European Union to create a “foundation aimed at supporting societies suffering from authoritarian regimes” leaves little doubt as to whom the foundation’s resources will be channeled to….In a translation from the EU’s Newspeak to a human language, this means that we can expect the opposition groups in Belarus, Ukraine and possibly even Russia and China to start getting financial aid from one more source. What is not clear is how this generosity towards the opponents of the aforementioned “authoritarian regimes” can be reconciled with the EU’s getting financial loans and sometimes even direct economic aid from these very regimes (Putin pledged $10 billion to combat the Eurozone crisis and China already provided even more).
NORTH AMERICA: U.S. will be allowed to share Canadian border info under new privacy charter – Globe and Mail (Canada), June 28, 2012 – The United States will be allowed to share information about Canadians with other countries under a sweeping border deal. The U.S. won’t have to explicitly tell Canada about its plan to pass along the personal details in many cases, suggests a newly released binational privacy charter.
U.S.REGION-BUILDING & THE AFRICAN UNION: Signs of Military Professionalism, Cooperation On Rise in Africa – AllAfrica, June 27, 2012 – The African Union established its African Union Mission to Somalia with a clear vision that a failed Somalia would impact the entire continent, [Army Brigaider General Arnold Gordon-Bray] said. “This collective grouping is epitomizing what AFRICOM is able to do, working with the State Department…”….It is designed to improve African militaries’ capabilities by providing selected training and equipment required to execute multinational peace support operations.
UNASUR: Paraguay does not accept resolutions of UNASUR, says Foreign Office – Globovision | AFP, June 28, 2012 – “Under the treaty establishing the UNASUR, the calling of special meetings of the Council of Heads of State and Government can only be made through the Pro-Tempore, which currently is held by the Republic of Paraguay” , said a Foreign Ministry statement released Thursday.
Paraguay suspended from participation at UNASUR summit in Argentina – Telesur TV, June 27, 2012 (Google Translation) – Following the political crisis in Paraguay following the dismissal of Fernando Lugo, the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) suspended the country’s participation in the summit scheduled for Friday in Mendoza, Argentina’s northwest.
Fernando Lugo will not attend the Mercosur summit in Argentina and Unasur – Telesur TV, June 27, 2012 (Google Translation) – The ousted president of Paraguay, Fernando Lugo, said Tuesday he will not attend the respective peaks of the Southern Common Market (Mercosur) and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) to be held on Thursday and Friday in the city of Argentina Mendoza (center), “not to influence the decisions taken there.”
GCC: GCC banks’ capital, earnings ‘strong’ – Saudi Gazette, June 28, 2012 – Banks in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region have capitalization that generally exceeds their international peers’, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said Tuesday in its report “Gulf Banks’ Capital Positions Compare Well With Those Of Global Banks”.
EUROPEAN UNION: Iran urges EU to reconsider ‘politicised’ oil sanctions, as falling oil prices threaten to squeeze Tehran – European Jewish Press, June 28, 2012 – Iran called on the EU to reconsider its forthcoming embargo on its oil industry, claiming “nobody benefits from confrontation.”…. As the threat of US-backed sanctions on Iran had previously forced the price of oil higher, a recent increase in output by Saudi Arabia and economic downturn in China and Europe have lowered prices by 25%, spelling danger for Iran as the world’s third-largest oil exporter.
ASEAN: ASEAN Declaration should be ‘equally powerful’ to UN’s – Jakarta Post, June28, 2012 – We have come to decide that the ADHR must not be less powerful than the Universal Declaration on Human Rights (UDHR). It should be equally powerful, at least….Cambodia has its own human rights commission. Myanmar will soon follow. The AICHR’s presence encourages other member states to establish their own national human rights commission.
EU: ASEAN can learn from eurozone crisis – GMA News (Philippines), June 28, 2012 – European Union Ambassador and Head of Delegation to the Philippines Ambassador Guy Ledoux said that the lingering financial turmoil in the eurozone should teach lessons to economies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. ASEAN is currently eyeing to build an EU-like single market by 2015.
NORTH AMERICA: Presidential debate is mum on looming NAFTA-like deal – San Jose Mercury News, June 26, 2012 – Meanwhile, the North American Free Trade Agreement, signed in 1994 by former president Bill Clinton and largely negotiated by his predecessor, George H.W. Bush, has made some real dents in American sovereignty. Among other things, it has allowed into the United States polluting and questionably safe trucks from Mexico and subjected some federal, state and local decisions to vetoes by an international tribunal of lawyer/judges from the member countries — the U.S., Canada and Mexico…. Now a NAFTA-like agreement is in the works, this time with trading partners around the Pacific Rim, and it threatens the same kinds of infringements on U.S. sovereignty.
Using the TPP to Renegotiate and Expand NAFTA – Bay Area Indymedia, June 26, 2012 – Both Canada and Mexico have been invited to join the U.S., along with other countries already engaged in negotiations which will deepen trade and economic ties within the Asia-Pacific region. Such a deal would surpass NAFTA in size and scope. The U.S. led talks which have been criticized for their secretive nature, could be used to update aspects of existing trade pacts among member nations. This would provide the perfect opportunity for a backdoor renegotiation of NAFTA without officially having to open it back up.
UNASUR: Colombian guerrillas asked UNASUR meeting – Los Tiempos (Bolivia), June 27, 2012 – The rebel National Liberation Army (ELN), Colombia’s second rebel force, asked to meet with the new secretary general of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the Venezuelan Ali Rodriguez to discuss a possible peace process in international participation has already been rejected by the Colombian government.
EUROPEAN UNION: New Plan Sees Closer Euro-Zone Ties
– Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2012 – The chiefs proposed that a powerful European supervisor should oversee the region’s banks and that national budget deficits should be preapproved by the rest of the bloc. The strict checks on national spending would be necessary to move toward pooling euro-zone countries’ debt, the report says.
GCC: EU, GCC pledge to deepen cooperation – Europolitics.info, June 26, 2012 – Following their 22nd EU-GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) joint Council and Ministerial Meeting in Luxembourg, on 25 June, the two sides agreed to draw up plans to strengthen their bilateral ties, recognising the importance of cooperation in the fight against terrorism, non-proliferation and disarmament as well as climate change.
EUROPEAN UNION: Europeans Agree on Sovereignty: Everyone Wants to Keep It – Bloomberg, June 25, 2012 – Majorities in eight European Union countries surveyed by Pew Research Center recently opposed the loss of budgetary control to EU officials….In Greece, which is still flirting with bankruptcy even after forming a new government, a whopping 75 percent are against ceding control to a finance ministry in Brussels.
GCC: The Israeli endgame in Iran – Asia Times, June 26, 2012 – Only Saudi Arabia and a few other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states share Israel’s alarm and hence support immediate, punishing attacks on Iran. Saudi Arabia is said to have offered overflight rights for Israeli strike aircraft and also help with refueling for their return flights. Strange bedfellows in the affairs of the world. But how enduring will this partnership be?
AFRICAN UNION: African extremist groups linking up: U.S. general – Reuters, June 25, 2012 – [U.S. General Carter Ham] said he was confident that Kony would ultimately be apprehended by African troops. “This is an African-led effort,” Ham said. “It is the African Union increasingly taking a leadership role with a little bit of support from the United States military. We think that is the right approach.”
Uganda: Borders Between Uganda and Rwanda Irrelevant – Kagame – AllAfrica, June 25, 2012 – The president of Rwanda, Paul Kagame has said borders that exist between Uganda and Rwanda are irrelevant and urged leaders from both countries to use the East African integration to strengthen ties between them. Kagame said the ‘artificial’ borders will become irrelevant with integration. He further expressed need for Uganda and Rwanda to start living as one family, embracing the East African community slogan of ‘one people, one destiny’.
East Africa: EAC Integration Way to Go, Says Expert – AllAfrica, June 26, 2012 – Deepened regional integration is the only way to go if East African Community (EAC) partner states are to get rid of colonial boundary dilemmas, a Ugandan based peace and security expert has said….”Regional integration will address all these conflicts because time will come when border demarcations are meaningless,” Dr Bainomugisha said…
ECOWAS Member States Urged to Eliminate Barriers to Implementation of Regional Free Movement Protocol – AllAfrica, June 25, 2012 – Member States are urged to harmonize their laws and policies in conformity with ECOWAS protocols and decisions to facilitate compliance and implementation. They should also integrate the values of ECOWAS into their educational curricula to inculcate the sense of Community into citizens while efforts should be expedited towards the early introduction of a single currency…
EURASEC – EURASIAN UNION: Russia, Belarus – strategic partners – Voice of Russia, June 26, 2012 – Naryshkin also mentioned the working group, just set up with partners from Kazakhstan, to draw up the outlines of a future Eurasian Union parliament.
EurAsEC Court to Hear First Economic Dispute – RIA Novosti (Russia), June 26, 2012 – The court of Post-Soviet economic bloc EurAsEC will hear its first ever economic dispute on Tuesday….Experts quoted by the paper say the lawsuit aims to draw attention to economically unjustified administrative barriers in trade between the EurAsEC member states, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
UNASUR: Ousted leader hopes to regain power in Paraguay – Associated Press, June 25, 2012 – Ousted Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo said Monday that he is aiming to return to power and will rally allies at home and abroad after a landslide congressional vote forced him from office in what he called a break with democracy….Lugo has said he intends to hand over Unasur’s rotating presidency to Peru this week, months before it is scheduled to change hands in November.
UNASUR Summit in Lima Suspended Due to Presidents Agenda – Prensa Latina, June 25, 2012 – The aim of the summit is to reiterate the condemn and take stronger measures against the coup in Paraguay….Given the suspension of the meeting in Lima, the diplomacy of UNASUR aims to gather all the head of states in the city of Mendoza on Friday at the Summit of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR).
AFRICAN UNION: AU Court to Decide On Nigerian Lawyer’s Case On Tuesday – AllAfrica, June 25, 2012 – He alleges further that he has been denied access to the African Court because of the failure or refusal by Nigerian authorities to make the declaration allowing Nigerian individuals and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to bring their cases directly before the African Court. He submits that since his efforts to have Nigeria make the declaration have failed, he decided to file an application against the African Union, as a representative of its Member States.
GCC (GULF UNION): Region-Building: Strategic vision to step up relations with GCC – Gulf Daily News (Bahrain), June 24, 2012 – US Ambassador Thomas Krajeski said America had a strategic vision for the region…”It is part of a GCC strategic vision that is being formulated and the US might partner with the GCC as an organisation or with individual members, as we increase security and defences here,” he added. He welcomed proposals for a Gulf union….
Bahrain king sees no need for foreign mediation – Gulf News (Dubai), June 25, 2012 – The monarch urged Bahrainis to be prepared for the move towards the Gulf union, stressing it was the way forward towards better well-being and greatness.Bahrain has offered a strong backing to a call issued in December by Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to move from the phase of cooperation to the phase of union within a single entity.
Syria, Iran on agenda of GCC-EU meeting – MENAFN (Jordan), June 25, 2012 – The worsening crisis in Syria will top the agenda of the foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg. Ministers from the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the European Union are meeting today. The ministerial meeting, which will also focus on a range of bilateral, regional and international issues of common concern, including Iran and Egypt, will be co-chaired by Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal and EU high representative Catherine Ashton.
UNASUR: Ousted Paraguayan president says he will attend regional summit – Fox News Latino, June 24, 2012 – Ousted Paraguayan President Fernando Lugo said Sunday he planned to attend the Mercosur summit later this week in Mendoza, Argentina. The Mercosur summit is scheduled to take place Thursday and Friday, and it may also include a joint meeting with the Union of South American Nations, or Unasur, leaders.
Paraguay Suspended From Latin Mercosur Bloc Summit In Argentina This Week – Bernama (Malaysia), June 25, 2012 – All Mercosur presidents on Sat openly rejected the removal of President Lugo describing the move as a “legislative, congressional or institutional coup”, in which the removed leader, in what was described as an “express” impeachment was denied sufficient time to present his defence. Foreign Minister Hector Timerman anticipated that Mercosur and the 12-member Latin Unasur bloc countries would sanction the current regime of Paraguay….
EURASIAN UNION: Georgian FM: Kyiv and Tbilisi share common danger – ForUm, June 25, 2012 – Georgia and Ukraine share a common danger, the plans of Russia to establis a “transformed Soviet Union” – the Eurasian Union, the Georgian foreign minister Grigol Vashadze said in the interview.
Vashadze said that planning the visit to Kyiv, he did not look back to the European officials, many of which have been ignoring the Ukrainian authorities lately.
Analysis: External debts, internal problems – ArmeniaNow, June 25, 2012 – Western politicians have repeatedly stated that Armenia will have to choose – either the European or Eurasian union. But, since President Sargsyan has no expectation of loans from the North, he had to take a turn to the West.
Lukashenko: Eurasian economic integration may require political reforms – Belarusian Telegraph Agency, June 25, 2012 – According to the head of state, all internal borders have been removed inside the Single Economic Space for a free movement of goods, capitals and services. Yet Belarus and Kazakhstan have no equal access to the natural monopolies of Russia. “We should address these issues during the next step (up to 2015, a preset date for the creation of the Eurasian Economic Union). In economy everything should be as in one state….”
EUROPEAN UNION: Pre-summit document presses EU banking union– Chicago Tribune|Reuters, June 25, 2012 – As well as progress towards a banking union, the paper discusses the need for a more integrated budget policy, steps required for deeper economic integration, and how to retain “democratic legitimacy” if countries give up some sovereignty.
ASEAN: Lessons for Asean in Greece’s crisis – AsiaOne, June 25, 2012 – Nariz Razak , CEO of CIMB Group, said recently that Asean members would benefit from economic integration without currency integration. “Additional benefits from currency integration are far outweighed by the downside risks,” he said. However, those who support the common currency believe that Greece can stay in the European bloc by reforming its economy.
EUROPEAN UNION: EU president Van Rompuy to unveil banking union plan – London Telegraph, June 24, 2012 – European Union president, Herman Van Rompuy, hopes to unveil a proposal for a banking union at this week crunch EU leaders’ summit. A banking union would be the first step in a long-term roadmap to political union that he will outline to EU leaders, with dates and institutional problems such as treaty change set out by year’s end.
EURASEC (EURASIAN UNION): EurAsEC, CIS countries vow to enhance customs cooperation – Xinhua (China), June 24, 2012 – Topical issues at the meetings include the implementation plan for the development of integrated automated control system of customs transit EurAsEC member states in 2012-2014, and a draft protocol to the agreement on a common commodity nomenclature of foreign economic activities of the Eurasian Economic Community.
AFRICAN UNION: U.S. Military & Region-Building: Army: Troops to be ready for Africa missions – Washington Times, June 22, 2012 – “What it does mean is that [the brigade] is going to be the sourcing solution of preference to provide troops or [U.S. Africa Command] to carry out their security cooperation requirements.”
And just what are those “security cooperation requirements”? The article, typically, does not say, but specifically they pertain to Africa’s “cooperative” organizations – the African Union and its sub-regions: the East African Community (EAC), the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC), and the the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
Is East African Integration for the political elite?
New Vision (Uganda) June 23, 2012 – The recently concluded East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) elections in which Hon. Margaret Nantongo Zziwa was elected the first Assembly lady speaker is a step towards East African Integration. However, there is a missing link between the political elite and the grass roots people when it comes to matters of East African Community and the imminent full federation in 2015. There is lack of civic education to sensitize the local population about the East African Federation project.
World Bank urges deeper regional integration to grow economy – Coastweek (Kenya), June 22, 2012 – The World Bank on Monday urged the Kenyan government to rebalance its financial system and deepen regional integration to spur economic growth. The Bank’s Lead Economist for Kenya Wolfgang Fengler said strong growth of the now enlarged East African Community (EAC) creates expanded opportunities for Kenya to reduce its vulnerability from external shocks.
GCC: EU urged to press Gulf on human rights next week – Chicago Tribune, June 22, 2012 – Rights activists urged the European Union on Friday to press Gulf Arab allies to improve their human rights record and stop harassment and threats against civil society groups and political campaigners.…In an open letter ahead of a ministerial meeting between the EU and the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in Luxemburg on Monday, the International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH) and the Gulf Center for Human Rights (GCHR) urged EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton to put human rights at the top of the agenda.
Report: US should strengthen ties with GCC – The National, June 23, 2012 – The overarching aim of US strategy in the region, however, is to preserve stability in the region by creating a “counterweight” to Iran. The “centrepiece” of that strategy is deepening security cooperation with GCC countries.
UNASUR: Paraguay Congress Removes President Fernando Lugo – Wall Street Journal, June 22, 2012 – Paraguay’s opposition-led Congress Friday impeached President Fernando Lugo for “poor performance,” though a smooth transition of power in the South American nation, one of the poorest in the region, appears to have taken place….Mr. Correa, Ecuador’s president, said the Union of South American Nations, or Unasur, may not recognize a new government formed after the impeachment….”We cannot recognize a new government, and may even have to close the borders, as is established in the Unasur democracy clause,” Mr. Correa told reporters at a U.N. summit in Brazil.
Colombia supports the creation of Unasur Regional Criminal Court – El Universo, June 23, 2012 (Google Translation) – The thesis [by] Ecuador to create a Regional International Criminal Court, under the aegis of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and with a view to combating transnational crime, especially drug trafficking, was endorsed yesterday by the Attorney General of Colombia, Eduardo Montealegre.
ASEAN: Envoy: Integration can work for Asean – The Star (Malaysia), June 23, 2012 – The European integration, even with its faults, has brought about peace and prosperity, and there is no reason why it would not work for Asean, said ambassador and head of European Union (EU) delegation to Malaysia Vincent Piket.
An East Asian community? – Japan Times, June 22, 2012 – The leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Japan, China and South Korea (ASEAN-plus-3) announced in December 2005 their determination to realize the East Asian Community. EAC has remained a dream so far because of the complexities of East Asia, particularly the mutual distrust and difficult emotional state between Japan and China. However, a fairly promising path has surfaced for realizing EAC through financial cooperation by ASEAN-plus-3.
UNASUR: Paraguay impeachment bid sparks regional concern – AFP, June 22, 2012 – In a surprise move, lawmakers voted Thursday to launch the impeachment proceedings against President Fernando Lugo over his “poor performance” during clashes between police and squatters last week that left 17 people dead. The South American bloc UNASUR quickly dispatched a ministerial delegation and warned against Lugo’s removal without due process, with Ecuador warning that Paraguay could face sanctions under the group’s “democracy clause.” ….Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa went further,….”Internally, they can do whatever they want, but their international recognition depends on our decision.”
EUROPEAN UNION: Merkel’s Next Step: Shock and Awe – Bloomberg, June 21, 2012 – To stabilize Europe’s economies, the EU has to surprise the markets with a newfound clarity of purpose. No more half-measures. It’s time for shock and awe….Here’s the balance Europe has to strike: Find a line of retreat for Merkel that does not amount to humiliating defeat, and at the same time tells markets that the rules have changed.
EURASIAN UNION: Eurasian and European unions: future plans – Voice of Russia, June 21, 2012 – “….It seems to me that the Eurasian Union has got the potential; it can continue to expand to the East. The more important it is for the European Union to create institutional alliances with the Eurasian Union due to the fact that we will be more and more in need of energy flows from East to West.”
GCC: Global Insider: GCC Aims to Restart Momentum with New Development Fund – World Politics Review, June 21, 2012 – Qatar announced earlier this month that it plans to contribute $1.5 billion to the new Gulf Development Fund established by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in December to aid nonmembers Jordan and Morocco….The primary motivation seems to be the defense of conservative Arab monarchies in the face of regional unrest.
Israel, Iran, and India – Haaretz, June 22, 2012 – India finds itself simultaneously caught within three Iran-related policy triangles: with an aggressive U.S. and recalcitrant Iran; a Shia Iran and messianic Israel; and a Sunni GCC and Shia Iran. India also shares the common goal with the U.S, Israel and the GCC of stopping Iran’s nuclear ambitions. India will be directly affected by – but not in a position to influence – the actions of any of these three Iran adversaries in the evolving scenario.
ARAB LEAGUE: CIA Helping Channel Arms To Syrian Rebels: Report – International Business Times, June 21, 2012 – Central Intelligence Agency operatives are speeding the flow of automatic weapons, rocket propelled grenades and other arms from southern Turkey to Syrian rebels, according to a recent report….The news comes as both the Arab League and Russia are pointing fingers at each other, demanding a stop to the channeling of arms to the battered country, where at least 14,400 people have been killed in the 15-month civil war.
NORTH AMERICA: As the US Decline Continues, Canada Looks to Step in – OilPrice.com, June 21, 2012 – The world order of the 21st century is undergoing a deep transformation as the post-Cold War United States hegemony continues its slow and steady decline….Canada occupies a unique position in this new world order as a multilateral, cooperative and activist middle-power, and as such it is well placed to benefit from the global shift towards multipolarity, says Adriano Marchese of Geopoliticalmonitor.
ARAB LEAGUE: Arab League meets to establish structures for Arab Customs Union – Kuwait News Agency, June 20, 2012 – In press statements, Tamer Abdulaziz, head of the meeting, director of regional agreements at Egypt’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry, said that this committee is concerned mainly with preparations and taking necessary measures to establish the groundwork for the Union of the Arab Customs in accordance with political and economic resolutions and recommendations of previous Arab summits.
‘Israel in a unique place to make peace with Arabs’ – Jerusalem Post, June 20, 2012 – Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan asserted that the Arab Spring and changes taking place in the region could have a positive effect on Israel’s chances to improve its relations with Arab states….”The radicals in the Arab League are no longer there and a range of mutual interests that require regional cooperation provide an incredible opportunity for fostering peaceful relations,” Dagan said.
AFRICAN UNION: Largest Military Communications Exercise in Africa Kicks Off in Cameroon – AllAfrica, June 20, 2012 – Africa Endeavor, an annual communications joint exercise sponsored by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), focuses on the interoperability of equipment and information sharing among military representatives throughout the African Union…. “U.S. Africa Command’s ambition is to not only strengthen partnerships between the United States military and the militaries of African nations, but to strengthen the partnership between African nations’ militaries as well,” [U.S. Marine Colonel Andrew Kostic] said.
Would African Criminal Court compromise international justice? – Legalbrief, June 21, 2012 – The long-running spat between the African Union (AU) and International Criminal Court (ICC) over perceived bias has prompted the AU to push ahead with plans to form its own Africa-wide criminal court. However, a report on the allAfrica.com site notes that analysts believe the move could complicate, rather than enhance, international justice.
SHOCK AND AWE
From the SAARC Website: Secretary-General attends the UN Retreat – SAARC-sec.org, June 14, 2012 – H. E. Mr. Ahmed Saleem, Secretary-General of SAARC, attended the UN High-level Retreat at Greentree Estate, New York on 9 June 2012.
The Retreat, which was hosted by H. E. Mr. BAN Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations,….recognized that the United Nations, regional and sub-regional organizations laid increasing emphasis on the need to act early to prevent conflicts, resulting in joint engagements in areas such as early warning and preventive diplomacy, including joint mediation partnerships. The Retreat also recognized that fragile states are increasingly exposed to a range of transnational security challenges such as terrorism, piracy, organized crime and drug trafficking, as well as armed non-state groups operating across borders, which can have highly corrosive impacts on security, governance and the development of stable, legitimate institutions. These challenges are exacerbated by economic or environmental factors, such as climate change, financial shocks or sudden changes in food prices.
Besides the UN Secretary-General, the Executive Heads of African Union; Collective Security Treaty Organization; Commonwealth, Economic Community of Central African States [ECCAS]; Economic Community of West African States [ECOWAS]; European Union; Intergovernmental Authority on Development; International Organization of la Francophonie; League of Arab States [Arab League]; North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO]; Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe; Organization of American States; Organization of Islamic Cooperation; South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation [ASEAN]; and Southern African Development Community [SADC].
From the Archives: A World Effectively Controlled by the United Nations – Lincoln P. Bloomfield, March 10, 1962
A ‘normal’ historical process, in which ever-larger units evolve through customs unions, confederation, regionalism, etc., until ultimately the larger units coalesce under a global umbrella, could take up to two hundred years, on past performance figures, and even this may be optimistic….
I have suggested that an alternative road may bypass the main path of history….This relies on a grave crisis or war to bring about a sudden transformation in national attitudes sufficient for the purpose. According to this version, the order we examine may be brought into existence as a result of a series of sudden, nasty, and traumatic shocks….Thus a hypothetical model can be constructed, fulfilling the characteristics of “a world effectively controlled by the United Nations….
Corporate Author: INSTITUTE FOR DEFENSE ANALYSES, ALEXANDRIA, VA. Prepared for IDA in support of a study submitted to the Department of State, under contract No. SCC 28270, February 24, 1961. (Emphasis added).
Europe takes first stab at building banking union – Reuters, June 21, 2012 – The fate of the European Union’s banks, struggling to ride out the debt crisis, will take centre stage on Friday when ministers turn to the question of forging a banking union, a crucial step to stand behind their troubled lenders and the euro.
SAARC: Pakistan: Senate body for stronger ties with South, Central Asia – Daily Times (Pakistan), June 21, 2012 – During the two-days deliberations, the committee thoroughly discussed Pakistan’s relations with Central Asian states, SAARC and OIC countries….“South and Central Asian region is most important for us,” the members observed. The committee stressed upon the Foreign Ministry to focus attention on the region and further consolidate the ties to have a say in the regional affairs.
UNASUR: Cosiplan delegates will meet to discuss rail system – La Nacion (Paraguay), June 21, 2012 (Google Translation) – In the second fortnight of August this year, will meet in Asuncion Council delegates [to the] South American Infrastructure and Planning (COSIPLAN) under the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR)….At this meeting, members will attend the working group on rail integration in the region.
Venezuela wants an intelligence center against drugs -Espanol.UPI, June 20, 2012 (Google Translation) – “This proposal will be forwarded to the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), and seeks to establish a monitoring sea and air activities of the region’s countries, and share information in real time to carry out strategies against illicit trade drugs,” [Venezuela Deputy Minister of Public Safety, Nestor Reverol] said.
GCC (GULF UNION): Gulf union might do more harm than good – CNN, June 21, 2012 – Five countries in the GCC — Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — are Sunni-dominated societies. Only Bahrain, the sixth GCC country, has a Shia majority. With the sectarian conflict in Syria escalating and spilling over into Lebanon, the violent clashes between the two sects in Iraq, and the uprising in Bahrain by a predominantly Shia opposition, the proposed political federation is likely to enflame the regional conflict.
EU-ASEAN:An efficient machine for the next 45 years – Europa, June 19, 2012 – Even if all our economic engines were roaring ahead, barriers to trade and investment across the world would still be slowing us down. What the world needs today is more economic integration, not less. That is why Europe and ASEAN need to come closer together, not farther apart. That is why regional integration within South East Asia offers so much potential.
UNASUR: Venezuela Proposes South American Intelligence Center to Monitor Drug Trafficking – InSight Crime, June 19, 2012 – On June 18, Venezuela proposed creating a South American intelligence center to monitor drug trafficking in the region. According to Venezuelan Vice Minister of Public Safety Nestor Reverol, the system will monitor maritime and aerial transportation in the region and will promote shared intelligence among South American countries…The proposal will be raised before the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).
UNASUR called to industrialize the region’s natural resources – Venezuelan News Agency, June 19, 2012 (Google Translation) – The countries of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) should aim to industrialize their natural resources, to thereby end poverty in the region, said Tuesday the regional bloc’s secretary general, Ali Rodriguez Araque.
EUROPEAN UNION: EU Van Rompuy: Will Propose Economic Union in EU by End of Year – Wall Street Journal, June 19, 2012 – European Council president Herman van Rompuy will set out proposals for greater economic integration in the euro zone when he presides over a meeting of EU leaders later this month, he said Tuesday.
Europe sketches clearer picture on banking, fiscal union – Reuters, June 20, 2012 – One concern is that if they try to move too far, too fast, governments and voters across Europe may reject what many see as a push for a federalised Europe, with too much national sovereignty given up to unelected powers in Brussels. Move too slowly and the lack of confidence financial markets already have in European decision-making will be exacerbated
GCC: Gulf capitalism – The News International, June 20, 2012 – The GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] states came to share an interest in the growing strength of the US dollar and US financial power with most of their reserves in dollar-linked markets. Also, the Gulf’s monarchies depend on US military protection. This, perhaps, also explains US concern for democracy in Libya while staying mum in case of the GCC.
EURASIAN UNION: St. Petersburg to host EurAsEC and CIS sessions – Gazeta (Kazakhstan), June 20, 2012 – Sessions of the Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) Integration Committee and the CIS Economic Council (EC) will be held in St. Petersburg on 20-21 June….The member states are expected to review the draft agreement on the terms of operation of the EurAsEC Court in the territory of Belarus…
AFRICAN UNION: Rwanda: Rwanda Defence Forces to Set Up Peacekeeping Base – AllAfrica, June 20, 2012 – The MoU [memorandum of understanding] falls within the framework of the Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF) whose objective is to provide standby forces to carry out timely peacekeeping missions in Africa and around the world….The Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF) is a constituent organisation of the African Standby Force which was established by the African Union in 2004 with the function of carrying out timely peace and security missions.
ARAB LEAGUE: Arabs unified in Rio+20 vision – Arab League official – Kuwait News Agency, June 19, 2012 – “The event is of major importance to Arabs, with the ‘Arab Spring’ wave of bringing social equality and deep-seating principles of sustainable development in Arab countries,” he said.
GCC (‘GULF UNION’): US plans significant military presence in Kuwait – Fox News, June 19, 2012 – The United States is planning a significant military presence of 13,500 troops in Kuwait to give it the flexibility to respond to sudden conflicts in the region…The study by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee examined the U.S. relationship with the six nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council — Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman — against a fast-moving backdrop.
Saudi Arabia-Bahrain union reflects Gulf rivalry – Asia Times (Hong Kong), June 19, 2012 – Beyond their monarchical character, GCC members share other attributes in common. GCC members host a number of US military installations, including the regional headquarters of the US Central Command in Qatar and the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet in Bahrain….While GCC members agree in principle on the utility of a confederation, there appears to be little serious interest within the body to unite at this stage outside of the embattled leadership in Manama. Saudi Arabia nevertheless feels compelled to proceed with creating a union with Bahrain.
EURASIAN UNION: Positive opinion in Russia’s parliament about a common currency in the Eurasian Union – Russia-media.RU, June 18, 2012 – After the introduction of a common currency the Eurasian Union will be a real supranational union. Otherwise, it remains still as an “initiative that exists in the papers”, underlined Slutski. “We need a common currency, common language, common borders, common law and a unified parliament” he added.
ASEAN: Singapore: ASEAN could surpass EU in coming years – Washington Times, June 18, 2012 – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) might one day overtake the European Union as an economic power, Singapore’s foreign minister says. “Our trajectory is upwards, their trajectory is probably flat for a considerable period of time, and even after that, their growth is unlikely to be very strong,” Kasiviswanathan Shanmugam said. “Over a very long period of time, we may well overtake them.
Asian Currency Union Put on Hold – NumisMaster.com, June 18, 2012 – If you think the economic gap between European Union members Germany and Greece is wide, then you should examine the gap between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations members Singapore and Cambodia. This is just one of many reasons why spokesmen for the 10-member nation Asean organization have recently said a currency union for their group is still a distant thought. The financial problems within the EU are being monitored closely by Asean.
EUROPEAN UNION: EU Barroso: Banking Union Can Be Built Quickly Without Changing Treaty – Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2012 – Some parts of Europe’s response to the financial crisis can be put in place quickly after setting out priorities at a European Union summit later this month, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said Monday. “Today the debate is how far, and how quickly we are going to complete the monetary union with fiscal union, and in some cases a true political union,” he told reporters. For a banking union, “we the commission are ready to put forward proposals needed by autumn, and we can do it without revision of treaty.”
ARAB LEAGUE: Arab League secretary general calls for peacekeeping force in Syria to quell fighting – Washington Post, June 18, 2012 – The international community should deploy a peacekeeping force, instead of the U.N.’s existing, beleaguered observer mission, to help end the killing in Syria, the secretary general of the Arab League said Monday. The appeal could have a rough time getting past Syria’s stalwart U.N. allies Russia and China.
AFRICAN UNION: African Becomes International Criminal Court’s 1st Black, Female Prosecutor – Bensouda, 51, is a native of Gambia and grew up in the capital, Banjul….NewsOne, June 18, 2012 – Her appointment comes after years of complaints by African leaders who accused the ICC of only pursuing cases on their continent. In 2011, the African Union accused the ICC of discrimination. Bensouda, ICC’s deputy prosecutor at the time, shot back, saying that many Africans have sought out the international body to help bring justice to their homelands.
Canada Sending 12 Members of the Army to Annual Training Exercise – Ottawa Citizen, June 18, 2012 – Exercise AE 12 is an annual international communications exercise that focuses on interoperability and information sharing among African partners….African nations met with their Western counterparts from Canada, the Netherlands, and the U.S. in Accra, Ghana, to finalize planning for this significant training event. Those attending will include the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States, and the Economic Community of East African States.
EURASIAN UNION: Euro Crisis Gives Impetus to Eurasian Common Currency Discussion – Moscow Times, June 17, 2012 – Portansky said wooing Ukraine into the customs union would bring the introduction of the common currency closer because it would significantly boost Russia’s mutual trade with other bloc members. Creating a single currency will mark the final stage of forming the Eurasian Union and help strengthen the bloc, Stanislav Bogdankevich, former chairman of the National Bank of Belarus, told RIA-Novosti on Friday.
EUROPEAN UNION: Greece elects pro-European Union party – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette | McClatchy Newspapers, June 18, 2012 – Greece’s pro-European New Democracy party finished first in critical parliamentary elections Sunday, making a strong enough showing to form a coalition government and to reassure European partners that Greece will continue repaying its debts.
Sigh of relief at G20 summit over Greek election – San Jose Mercury News | Associated Press, June 18, 2012 – World leaders expressed relief on the eve of a G20 summit that Greek voters had stepped back from the edge and elected a government that supports painful reforms in exchange for a European Union bailout of the country’s troubled economy.
Leaders seek deeper trade ties, back conclusion of Doha Round – Europolitics, June18, 2012 – While they talked about the prospects for improving bilateral trade relations, leaders from the European Union and Mexico emerged from their sixth bilateral summit with a strong commitment to the multilateral trading system, calling in particular for a fresh impetus to conclude the Doha Round of international trade negotiations….The bilateral summit took place on 17 June in Los Cabos, Mexico, ahead of the G20 meeting.
[Notice that this “bilateral summit” was between one nation and a multilateral organization representing itself as one entity.]
ASEAN: Asean’s Tricky Human Rights Charter – Irrawaddy News Magazine (Coverage of Burma via Thailand), June 18, 2012 – ….Even Vietnam, which shows disdain for any human rights activity at home, has applied to become a member of UN Human Rights Council. Asean was flabbergasted when Burma established its national human right commission last November—joining Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and Indonesia. Although the state-run national human rights mechanism has not been recognized by its Asean and international peers, it was nonetheless a welcome move which the other half of Asean has been reluctant to adopt….Being Asean, all proposed rights protections can only be carried out in accordance with national and regional particularities under national law. This, of course, provides room for abuses by undemocratic members.
UNASUR: The Pentagon’s subversive activities in Latin America – BolPress (Bolivia), June 18, 2012 (Google Translation) – While UNASUR gradually moves towards the creation of an autonomous system security, the prospect of Washington around integration initiatives on this scale is well known: the U.S. typically frowns on these projects unless [it is] the monitor. In light of the above [it] may seem surprising that recent movements in the area of UNASUR security do not receive an attack from Washington. Peru prepares to temporarily lead the Unasur – LaRepublica (Peru), June 18, 2012 (Google Translation) – Foreign Minister Rafael Roncagliolo said that Peru hopes to “concrete steps” in the convergence of the Andean Community and Mercosur in the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), when he takes the Pro Tempore Presidency in November this year.
Colombia’s Quest for Peace and Justice – Transcend Media Service, June 18, 2012 – UNASUR (Union of South American Nations), MERCOSUR(Common Southern Market) and other regional organizations, are expressions of the growing political and economic independence of Latin America and a rejection of the US dominated OAS(Organization of American States)….The growth of autonomous regional integration provides two strategic advantages: it lessens economic dependence on the US and weakens Washington’s leverage in imposing economic sanctions against any nationalist, populist or socialist government in the region.
AFRICAN UNION: Southern Africa: A Case for Closer Integration Between South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland? – AllAfrica, June 18, 2012 – Given the vision of an African Union and increasing rapprochement between the members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) it is perhaps a good time to consider the closer integration of two smallest regional nations with their dominant neighbour….The relationships between Lesotho, Swaziland and South Africa were close enough to consider dissolving borders in the past – the primary stumbling block was the racist nature of South Africa’s government.
EUROPEAN UNION: Contagion risks run high in Greek vote – CNN Money, June 16, 2012 – Greek voters returned to the polls Sunday, after last month’s election ended in stalemate, and the outcome is anyone’s guess….The immediate concern is that Greek banks could be cut off from ECB funding. A banking crisis in Greece could undermine the already fragile Spanish banking sector. That would turn market attention to Italy…
China Times: Alarm sounded over global economy – Focus Taiwan News Channel, June 16, 2012 – Just as expected, Spain finally accepted a 100 billion euro bailout package from the European Union to rescue its failing banks, making it the fourth European nation to do so after Greece, Ireland and Portugal.
Emigrating Greeks Prove the EU Is Working – CNBC, June 17, 2012 – But while some analysts lament the impact on Greek society, as well as the economy, others say a rise in intra-European Union migration is just a consequence of the bloc’s natural tendency towards convergence. The right of citizens to “move and reside freely within the EU” is enshrined in European law…
SAARC (SOUTH ASIA):
‘Afghanistan can be rebuilt by making it trade, energy hub’ – India Minister of State for External Affairs E Ahamed, Business Standard (India), June 17, 2012 – I believe that India’s active presence in the region will contribute to stability and development in the entire Central and South Asia region. In this analysis, we must factor in the regional situation and especially the challenge of rebuilding the Afghan nation. A cooperative approach for embedding Afghanistan into a more meaningful regional economic and security framework, would have benefits for the entire region. One way is to work towards converting Afghanistan into a hub for trade and energy, connecting Central and South Asia…
AFRICAN UNION: ECOWAS Parliament Assumes Full Legislative Status – MyJoy (Ghana), June 17, 2012 – The ECOWAS Parliament Saturday unanimously adopted its Draft Supplementary Act, which seeks to transform the Parliament from an advisory institution to a lawmaking one.
East Africa: EAC Strikes New Trade Agreement With U.S – AllAfrica, June 17, 2012 – A new Trade and Investment partnership has been forged between the Arusha-based East African Community (EAC) and the United States of America, the ‘Sunday News’ has learnt….These agreements and other activities to be pursued will help to promote EAC regional integration, economic growth and expand and diversify US-EAC trade and investment. They could also serve as building blocks towards a more comprehensive trade agreement over the long term.
Libya: New AFRICOM And NATO Beachhead In Africa – OpEdNews, June16, 2012 – The absorption of Libya with Syria to follow would be entirely in keeping with the pattern NATO has established of militarily integrating nations it has attacked and brought about “regime change” in over the past seventeen years….In regards to Africa, the offensive by the axis of AFRICOM, EUCOM, NATO and the European Union, with assistance from the Arab monarchies, to resubjugate the continent by returning it to the conditions of a century ago is well underway.
NORTH AMERICA: Time to Give Canada Some Respect – Chicago Tribune, June 17, 2012 – Canadian and American military personnel sit cheek-to-jowl in the North American Aerospace Defense Command, in Colorado Springs, Colo., protecting the skies of North America. A Canadian general directed the air defense of North America on 9/11, and nearly 300 U.S.-bound planes landed at Canadian airports that day when the U.S. closed its airspace….This is a far cry from the fight of 1812.
UNASUR: The U.S. Southern Command crawls through South America – Bolpress (Bolivia), June 16, 2012 (Google Translation) – The U.S. Army has signed 126 contracts worth more than $ 12 million for construction at military installations in [Columbia]. Some of these contracts…were signed after the Constitutional Court held invalid the treaty that allowed Washington, through the Southern Command, to use and adapt the seven bases. In the presence of this in the region, UNASUR has reiterated its commitment to prevent “interference in the sovereignty of Latin American peoples”…
EURASIAN UNION: Medvedev considers introduction of single currency in Eurasian Economic Union – Voice of Russia, June 15, 2012 – Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has suggested considering the introduction of a single currency in the Eurasian Economic Union that’s due to be set up by five CIS nations by January 1st, 2015.
Eurasian Union will not copy European Union – Vestnik Kavkaza, June 15, 2012 -“This is a logical proposal,” the head of the parliamentary committee for the CIS affairs Leonid Slutsky said….Slutsky believes that the question of a common currency should be solved after 2015, when the borders of the Eurasian economic union are drawn. “Only then will it be clear whether it is more reasonable to introduce a new supra-national currency similar to the euro, or if it is possible to use Russian rubles…”
NORTH AMERICA: Barbour Backs Work Permits for Illegal Immigrants – Wall Street Journal, June 15, 2012 – Top Republican Haley Barbour didn’t know it the time, but he unwittingly gave a robust endorsement Friday morning to the Obama administration’s surprise decision to give work permits to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants working in the U.S….“America is in a global battle for capital and labor,” he said, praising the work ethic of the millions of Hispanics who have come to the U.S. without proper documentation, including the many who work in Mississippi’s poultry factories. “We need more people in America who want to work.”
AFRICAN UNION: Can World Court Survive African Union’s Attack? – CNN, June15, 2012 – The African Union (AU) has called for the International Criminal Court’s charges against Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir to be dropped. As Luis Moreno Ocampo, the ICC’s chief prosecutor, departs his post, can the institution survive the AU’s attack? Has it lived up to the expectations for international justice set at Nuremberg?
Africa: Objectivity Versus African Unionism – AllAfrica, June 15, 2012 – The Joyce Banda-led government of Malawi has decided to defy conventional African expectations and snubbed the African Union (AU)’s conditions for hosting its July summit. The AU had given Malawi the condition that the country had to accept Sudanese President Omar al Bashir as a delegate to the summit and not lay hands on him — given the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) directive for his arrest….Could Malawi’s decision be the trademark of a new era in African politics where any unionism around autocracy will ultimately be broken? Are we seeing the emergence of a new strand of courageous leaders who in their wrong or right are willing to challenge the absolutism that has characterised the AU for so long?
EUROPEAN UNION: Greek Election: The Eurozone Could Finally Collapse, But Don’t Bet On It – Forbes, June 15, 2012 – Market behavior seems to suggest that no matter what happens, it’s a win-win situation. Either a pro-Europe government is formed in Greece, or markets will be flooded with liquidity. The problem is deeper, and short-term market moves don’t capture it fully. The structure of the European Union is fundamentally flawed, that a flood of liquidity will mask, but won’t solve.
ARAB LEAGUE: Israeli President Shimon Peres discusses Syria and Iran – Washington Post, June 15, 2012 – “Annan says he is a representative of the United Nations and the Arab League. It’s the first time in history that something like this is happening. Why wouldn’t you suggest that the United Nations give a mandate to the Arab League to change the system, instead of the Arab League advising or complaining? It’s an Arab question. Whoever will intervene, they will say it’s a foreign intervention. Let them do it, and the United Nations will give them the mandate and the support.”
GCC (GULF UNION: Bahrain Caught In A Perilous Situation – Analysis – Eurasian Review, June 16, 2012 – But, according to the author of the report, Jane Kinninmont, there is still scope to find common ground between the different elements of Bahraini society in support of a constitutional monarchy, based on a revitalized social contract, not on sect-based power-sharing. In fact, there may now be an opportunity to develop a fresh mediation effort by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in the context of discussions on greater unity among Persian Gulf states. Conversely, the failure to reach a political solution to the problems in Bahrain may undermine the drive towards GCC unity by contributing to both political and sectarian tensions within the GCC, warns Kinninmont.
PIF (SOUTH PACIFIC): EPA to provide transparency – Fiji Times, June 16, 2012 – A comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) will provide the private sector with predictability and transparency in the application of trade rules, Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat deputy general secretary, Andie Fong Toy said. This was because it will be a treaty that will bind the parties for an indefinite period of time, Ms Fong Toy said…
UNASUR: Luis Bilbao: UNASUR must assume Argentine claim to sovereignty of the Malvinas– Venezolana de Television, June 14, 2012 (Google Translation) – The Argentine claim over the sovereignty of the Falkland Islands, located in the South Atlantic and now Britain’s colonial anchor, grand-national level should be brought to Latin America, ie regional mechanisms such as the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), regarding the geostrategic importance of the archipelago and the danger it poses to the region that is in imperial hands. This was stated by the writer and journalist Luis Bilbao on Thursday,….in an interview via skype Bilbao with the whole program broadcast by Venezolana de Venezuela TV.
SAARC – WORLD BANK AND REGION-BUILDING: World Bank to restructure trade corridor programme – Express Tribune (Pakistan), June 14, 2012 – As efforts to integrate the South Asian region gain momentum, the World Bank is reviving and restructuring the ‘dead’ National Trade Corridor programme aimed at reducing cost of trade and improving logistics infrastructure between Pakistan and regional peers…..According to Salman Zaheer, the WB’s Programme Director for Regional Integration, the WB has embarked on a challenging programme of connecting Pakistan with Central Asia and further to Far East Asia. It was also working to connect Pakistan and India by simplifying border procedures and improving road and rail networks.
‘S Asian integration can be achieved through trade facilitation’ – Daily Times (Pakistan), June 15, 2012 – The true potential of South Asian integration can only be achieved by making trade facilitation, easing visas restrictions, simplifying customs and standard procedures besides improving connectivity through rail, road and direct flights…World Bank for South Asia Senior Operations Officer Diep Nguyen–Van Houtte told journalists…on Thursday.
AFRICAN UNION: The imperial agenda of the US’s ‘Africa Command’ marches on – London Guardian, June 14, 2012 – The idea, once again, is that it will not be US or European forces fighting and dying for western interests in the coming colonial wars against Africa, but Africans. The US soldiers employed by Africom are not there to fight, but to direct; the great hope is that the African Union’s forces can be subordinated to a chain of command headed by Africom.
GCC (GULF UNION): Towards a new Arab cultural revolution – Asia Times, June 13, 2012 – Iranians increasingly interpret Saudi Arabia’s mood as a hungering for war; and Gulf statements do often have that edge of hysteria and aggression: a recent editorial in the Saudi-owned al-Hayat stated: “The climate in the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] indicates that matters are heading towards a GCC-Iranian-Russian confrontation on Syrian soil, similar to what took place in Afghanistan during the Cold War. To be sure, the decision has been taken to overthrow the Syrian regime, seeing as it is vital to the regional influence and hegemony of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
SOUTH PACIFIC: Business Intelligence: Pacific free trade talks pick up steam – Island Business, June 15, 2012 – A free-trade agreement between Australia and New Zealand and the independent Pacific islands gained momentum at meetings in the Marshall Islands in mid-May, said Australian Parliamentary Secretary for the Pacific Richard Marles at the wrap up of the Forum Trade Ministers’ Meeting. “We are well on the way to developing the text for PACER Plus,” Marles said in reference to the free trade pact under negotiation known as the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations. Both Marles and Pacific Islands Forum Secretary General Tuiloma Neroni Slade said PACER Plus is not a conventional free trade treaty and will take into account unique aspects of small Pacific island economies.
EUROPEAN UNION: As Europe’s Currency Union Frays, Conspiracy Theories Fly – New York Times, June 14, 2012 (Google link) – The euro was supposed to seal European integration and prosperity and assure that never again would the Continent begin a world war. Whether or not it manages to survive, the common currency has instead fostered anger, recession and resentment. Greeks and others see in this a German conspiracy. Germans see a conspiracy to force them to pay for the continuing sins of others.
NORTH AMERICA: Omibus Bill: Canadians protest North American Union agenda – The Canadian, June 14, 2012 – Today, at over 80 locations across the country and counting, Canadians gathered at Conservative MP offices and supporting locations to call for 13 “Hero” Conservative MPs to stop the Budget Bill, split it, and start over. The Budget Bill is related to the government efforts to harmonize Canadians laws with the United States which is associated with the North American Union (NAU) agenda.
ASEAN: Asia’s Next Axis – CAIJING Magazine (China), June 14, 2012 – But if the proposals discussed in Beijing last month are realized, the resulting FTA could surpass NAFTA in its degree of integration and importance to the world economy. In addition, the formation of a China-Japan-South Korea FTA would most likely trigger a chain-reaction. For example, the momentum could expand southward and stimulate ASEAN, which has bilateral FTAs with all three countries, to join the group. Such a turn of events would be equivalent to establishing the East Asia Free Trade Area, which the ASEAN+3 envisioned about a decade ago.
UNASUR: South American Union’s Left Turn Is Bad News– The Foundry (Heritage Foundation), June 13, 2012 – In a ceremony in Bogota on June 11, the position of Secretary General of UNASUR passed from Colombian Maria Emma Mejia to Venezuela’s Ali Rodriguez. An ex-Marxist guerrilla, former foreign and energy minister, and former Ambassador to Cuba, the anti-American Chavista will serve as General Secretary for the next year.
EUROPEAN UNION: Monti urges political backing in euro crisis – Reuters, June 14, 2012 – Technocrat Prime Minister Mario Monti appealed to Italy’s politicians on Wednesday to back his tough economic medicine to avoid Rome becoming the next victim of the euro debt crisis, after a bailout for Spain’s banks failed to calm markets….European Union paymaster Germany urged Italians to implement Monti’s painful fiscal and economic reforms to stay out of the danger zone…
Tony Blair seeks European banking union – UPI, June 14, 2012 – Envoy Tony Blair warned of a widening popular backlash against austerity and added his voice to calls for a pan-European banking union and fiscal integration….Blair is currently special envoy for the U.S., U.N., European Union and Russian coalition, or Quartet, mediating the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
Global Norms In Regional Institutions: Lessons From The African Union And ASEAN – Analysis – Eurasia Review, June 13, 2012 – Regional organisations such as the African Union (AU) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have been expected to be the primary actors managing responses when violence or conflict erupts. Yet these regional organisations develop at a much slower pace than the people driving them. Decision-making here is not a mass participatory or democratic process, but conducted in close circles of technocrats, diplomats, or military officers. Accepting certain commitments, such as to democracy or human rights, may not necessarily reflect the internalisation of these values by states or the organisations which represent them.
UNASUR: Palestinian President will attend UNASUR-Arab Countries Summit in Peru – Spanish People | People’s Daily (China), June 13, 2012 – President of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) Mahmoud Abbas will attend the Third Summit of Heads of State and Government of South America (UNASUR) and the Arab Countries (Aspa) , which will take place on 1 and 2 October in Lima, said the Palestinian ambassador to Peru, Walid Abdel Rahim….The diplomat stressed the importance of this meeting of leaders of the two regions, geographically distant, but united by a common destiny…
AFRICAN UNION: Analysis: How close is an African criminal court? – IRIN News, June 13, 2012 – The long-running spat between the African Union (AU) and International Criminal Court (ICC) over perceived bias has prompted the AU to push ahead with plans to form its own Africa-wide criminal court, but analysts believe the move could complicate, rather than enhance, international justice.
African Union seeks mandate to send troops to Mali – Reuters, June 12, 2012 – The African Union has asked the U.N. Security Council for a resolution that would allow military intervention in Mali, where Islamist militants have become an international security threat, the union’s commission chief said on Tuesday.
GCC (GULF UNION): GCC Now Stronger Than Ever Before: Al-Zayani – Eurasia Review, June 13, 2012 – DERASAT’s Chairman Dr. Mohammed Abdul Ghaffar commended the initiative taken by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to transform GCC into a Gulf Union, saying it was a strategic move….Meanwhile, a meeting of GCC water and electricity ministers has approved a study on linking the member states water networks as well as the GCC water strategy. “I am confident that GCC water network will become a reality like the GCC power grid,” said Water and Electricity Minister Abdullah Al-Hussayen.
ASEAN: US Asean Ambassador Encourages Strong Law, Low Corruption in Region – Voice of America, June 12, 2012 – Asean groups nearly half a billion people together under 10 countries, which are seeking great economic unification….Ang Vong Vathana, Cambodia’s justice minister, said Asean’s members are better cooperating legally, but they have not yet fully developed an integrated legal system.
PIF (SOUTH PACIFIC): EU increasing Pacific funding despite crisis – New Zealand Herald, June 13, 2012 – Denmark’s Development Cooperation Minister Christian Friis Bach, representing the European Council President, said said while some countries in Europe had had to cut aid spending, others – including Denmark and the United Kingdom – had increased it, despite the financial crisis….He and the European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs were in Auckland yesterday for talks in the lead up to the Pacific Islands Forum…
EUROPEAN UNION: EU Barroso: May Launch New Banking Union Proposals by Autumn – Wall Street Journal, June 13, 2012 – New proposals for more integrated European bank supervision and region-wide bank deposit guarantees may be launched by the autumn, the head of the European Commission said Wednesday. Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said it was “indispensable” that the euro zone deepened its economic integration…
Europe needs banking, fiscal integration -EU summit draft – Reuters, June 13, 2012 – The euro zone needs much stronger banking and fiscal integration and enhanced governance, and the road to achieving these will be spelled out by a report of top European Union officials, draft conclusions for the June 28-29 summit of EU leaders showed.
NORTH AMERICA: Regulatory Cooperation Council to harmonize economic regimes – Canadian Sailings, June 12, 2012 – The bilateral Canada–United States Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC) was created by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Barack Obama in February 2011 as part of the broader Beyond the Border action plan. RCC’s mandate is to align regulatory approaches across a broad spectrum of industries, including agriculture and food, health and personal care products and workplace chemicals, environment and transportation.
UNASUR – ‘SOVEREIGNTY OF THE REGION’: UNASUR INTEGRATES THE PEOPLE IN DEFENSE OF AMERICAN SOVEREIGNTY, SAID LARA CASTRO
– La Nacion, (Paraguay) June 11, 2012 – In his speech the Chancellor of Paraguay, the country holding the Pro Tempore Secretariat of the regional block, underlined the need to consider the principles and objectives which underpin UNASUR as “alternative integration project proposes a new approach: the integration of Latin America was conceived from the unity of the peoples in defense of the sovereignty of the region.”
VENEZUELA TAKES ON THE GENERAL SECRETARIAT OF UNASUR – El Universal (Venezuela), June 11, 2012 – The Union of South American Nations (Unasur) will be from Monday in the hands of Venezuelan former Minister Alí Rodríguez, to whom Colombian Foreign Minister María Emma Mejía will hand over the General Secretariat of the body, at a special meeting of foreign ministers from 12 countries, to be held in Bogotá.
EUROPEAN UNION & GLOBAL FINANCIAL REGULATION: GLOBAL REGULATORS CHIDE EU ON BANK CAPITAL RULES
Reuters, June 11, 2012 – Global bank regulators warned the European Union it risked watering down agreed bank capital rules designed to avert another financial crisis and called for more consistency in implementing the regulations. The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision said in a report it wanted to resolve “consistency issues” with the EU’s approach to enforcing their Basel III rules.”The findings of these reviews are preliminary… Nevertheless, there is a possibility that national implementation will be weaker than the globally-agreed standards in some key areas,” the report said.
FEDERALIST WARMS UP TO EUROPE AT TWO SPEEDS – EurActiv, June 11, 2012 – Liberal MEP Andrew Duff, a leading federalist, is urging EU leaders at their 28-29 June summit to consider building a political union with, “at least initially”, a core group of countries forming a vanguard under a new treaty. In his blueprint, sent to selected Brussels journalists, Duff surprisingly starts by quoting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who said on 7 June that the 17-member eurozone should move toward a political union.
AFRICAN UNION: Kenya seeking US and EU Naval Force aid for attack on militant-held port town in Somalia – Washington Post | Associated Press, June 12, 2012 – Kenya is seeking U.S. and European assistance to aid in its planned attack on a militant port town in southern Somalia, Kenya’s prime minister said Tuesday. Raila Odinga….said Kenya has asked the U.S. for financial assistance in the operation. He said the U.S. has previously “resisted” providing funds until Kenyan forces formally joined the African Union force known as AMISOM.
SOUTH PACIFIC: Enhanced EU-Pacific cooperation welcomed – Voxy (NewZealand), June 12, 2012 – Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has welcomed the European Union’s continued engagement in the Pacific region following the Second Ministerial Meeting between the EU and Pacific Islands Forum in Auckland today….”The EU is spending $1.4 billion on development assistance to the Pacific over six years. Bringing together large donors like the EU and representatives from forum counties will greatly enhance assistance to the Pacific.”
ARAB LEAGUE: US Fearful of Military Intervention in Syria – FARS News Agency (Iran), June 12, 2012 – “US President Barack Obama’s administration has been understandably wary of engaging in an air operation in Syria similar to the campaign in Libya, for three main reasons,” James P. Rubin said. “Unlike the Libyan opposition forces, the Syrian rebels are not unified and do not hold territory. The Arab League has not called for outside military intervention as it did in Libya. And the Russians, the longtime patron of Syria, are staunchly opposed.”
Impotent UN must sway Russia over intervention in Syria – Sydney Morning Herald, June 12, 2012 – But this was the situation the world faced with Libya, as Gaddafi’s forces closed on Benghazi. The crucial change came when the Arab League demanded the Security Council intervene. We are at that point again, with the Arab League head Nabil Elaraby asking Ban Ki-moon to submit the fighting in Syria to the Security Council…
NORTH AMERICA: Canada and the United States Establish Joint Port Operations Committees at Eight Canadian Airports – MarketWatch, June 10, 2012 – As part of their commitment under the Beyond the Border Action Plan for Perimeter Security and Economic Competitiveness, Canada and the United States announce the establishment of Binational Port Operations Committees at eight Canadian airports that provide a U.S. preclearance service.
SE ASIA: Groups concerned over ASEAN charter – Jakarta Post, June 11, 2012 – Human rights groups have expressed concerns over the drafting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) led by the grouping’s Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR)….“Some countries may have foreseen that this AHRD would threaten the interests of some countries….Malaysia has its Internal Security Acts [ISA] which may provide legal basis for the authorities to arrest without trials those considered a danger to national security. Singapore as well as Brunei Darussalam also have their own forms of ISAs,” Yuyun said.
EUROPEAN UNION: Rajoy presents Spain bailout as ‘victory’ – Financial Times (London), June 11, 2012 (Google link), Greece, Ireland and Portugal have all been obliged to seek bailouts from the EU and the International Monetary Fund….Olli Rehn, the EU’s top economic official, made clear on Sunday that it would be the European Commission and other international experts, and not the Spanish government, that would decide how much Spain’s banks need.
Half of Britons want immediate European Union vote: Poll – Times of India, June 11, 2012 – The poll, taken on behalf of the Times newspaper, found that a third of Britons wanted to be part of a single market in a wider European community, with 40% opposed.
ECB’s Weidmann says eurozone risk sharing requires stronger political framework – MyFox Phoenix, June 10, 2012 – [Jens Weidmann, European Central Bank Governing Council] described the eurozone debt crisis as “a crisis of confidence” in the sustainability of member states’ public budgets and the competitiveness-level of its economies, but also in whether the monetary union can function with a single monetary policy and 17 independent national financial policies.
EURASIAN UNION: A more assertive Russia: consequences for Ukraine – EurActiv, June 8, 2012 – The final goal apparently is the Eurasian Union (EAU), where Moscow will have the last word….In this context, the authorities in Kyiv are set on an uncontested course of deepening of integration with Moscow. A wider presence of the Russian capital in Ukraine is expected, with the Ukrainian big business having to cede ground.
SAARC: The ‘Great Game’ of influence in Afghanistan continues but with different players – Fox News, June 10, 2012 – The US has, what it describes as a “New Silk Road” strategy that involves attempting to improve trade ties between the countries of central Asia and the Indian sub-continent. The aim of it is to bring economic prosperity to the region and hopefully that will undermine the extremists. The US is also promoting the benefits of the TAPI pipeline project that would bring natural gas from Turkmenistan across Afghanistan to markets in Pakistan and India.
This is a vague, misleading description of the real objective: the integration of Afghanistan into the geopoliticalregion-building of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) that is comprised of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
EUROPEAN UNION: Push for European Integration is Politics, Not Economics – Atlantic Sentinel, June 10, 2012 – In fact, the push for European integration in spite of the clear wishes of voters in core eurozone countries is exactly what fuels the anti-European sentiment that Wolf despises….Which raises the question, does he want want an even bigger bailout fund, does he want eurobonds and does he want to keep the euro together because it makes economic sense for Germany and the other countries in the euro or because he wants this political project to succeed?
PIF (SOUTH PACIFIC): Big lessons learnt from small conflicts – New Zealand Herald, June 9, 2012 – Bougainville’s 10-year civil war between the central government and separatist groups launched a new process that saw the emergence of “determined regional co-operation”, initially between Australia, New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji and Vanuatu but later expanding to all 16 member states of the Pacific Islands Forum [PIF] in the Solomons. “These regional initiatives strengthened the sense among states of the region that their security was indivisible,” the study says….”The next step in deepening regional co-operation and preparedness would be to strengthen joint exercises in the Pacific Islands region, involving civilian, police and military personnel,” the study says.
EUROPEAN UNION: Schaeuble Calls for Faster European Fiscal Union, Passauer Says – Bloomberg, June 8, 2012 – German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Europe must work faster to achieve a fiscal union and deeper political integration because of its sovereign debt crisis, Passauer Neue Presse reported today, citing Schaeuble.
Schengen Drama Haunts Crisis-hit European Union – China Radio, June 9, 2012 – The Schengen treaty, that guarantees free movement of persons within 26 European countries, is currently under review for possible amendments. It has come under increasingly criticism due to cross-border crime and illegal immigration amid Europe’s economic difficulties. Under the new rules agreed by interior ministers, a Schengen member could reintroduce border checks for up to six months due to exceptional circumstances. [The “Schengen Zone” comprises the nations within the European Union’s “outer security perimeter,” and is the model for the Obama-Harper “Beyond the Border” agreement for the U.S. and Canada.]
NORTH AMERICA: The North American Market: A Competitive Edge That Shouldn’t Be Squandered – Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), June 8, 2012 – Robert Pastor’s fine recent book The North American Idea, makes a compelling case that the strong U.S. economic growth of the 1990s was directly linked to growing economic integration with Canada and Mexico, and that the weak growth of past decade is in no small part the result of disintegration, brought about largely by unwarranted fears over NAFTA and the unfortunate U.S. response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
ARAB LEAGUE: ‘Change is unstoppable for Syria’ – Hürriyet Daily News (Turkey) June 8, 2012 – Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must understand that change is unstoppable and act accordingly, former Secretary-General of the Arab League told daily Hürriyet…. “I hope all Arab leaders understand this; change is unstoppable. I hope also al-Assad [understands this]. Not only understands, but acts in that direction,” Moussa said….Moussa was in Istanbul to attend the World Economic Forum (WEF).
SAARC – SOUTH ASIA: Strategic Implications of Trade With India – PKKH (Pakistan), June 8, 2012 – If SAARC is regionalized as envisaged, India – geographic center of the SAARC- will be a natural hegemon in the region along with its mighty economic power….Though very difficult in WTO era, Pakistan must seek to augment its industrial base before being directly exposed to massive Indian economy but the triumph card will be the transit route to Central Asia. While Indian investment in Afghanistan is a strategic move to counter this maneuvering, Pakistan should link this transit route opening to resolution of all outstanding issues like Kashmir…
ASEAN (SE ASIA): North Korea set to attend regional ASEAN meeting – Phnom Penh Post (Cambodia), June 8, 2012 – North Korea would attend the ASEAN Regional Forum in Phnom Penh next month, Foreign Minister Hor Namhong said yesterday….Cambodia is in a unique position to bring both North Korea and China to the table at the forum, maintaining strong relationships with both countries, each of which welcomed King Father Norodom Sihanouk after he was deposed in 1970.
AFRICAN UNION: African Leaders Seeking UN Military Help in Mali – Voice of America, June 8, 2012 – African leaders meeting in Ivory Coast are calling for United Nations backing for military intervention in northern Mali, which is currently controlled by rebels. Members of the African Union, the western African group, ECOWAS, and the United Nations Thursday agreed the AU should ask the United Nations Security Council for intervention in restoring Mali’s territorial integrity.
GCC (GULF UNION): Iran rejects GCC claims on three islands in Persian Gulf – Trend (Azerbaijan), June 8, 2012 – Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast has rejected claims by the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) about the three disputed islands of Abu Musa, the Greater Tunb and the Lesser Tunb, Press TV reported. The three islands have been and will remain an inseparable part of the Islamic Republic soil, Mehmanparast said on Thursday.
EUROPEAN UNION: Cameron: I’ll protect Britain from European superstate – London Telegraph, June 7, 2012 – The Prime Minister dismissed as “nonsense” a suggestion from Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, that the European Union should eventually have a single national identity and described as “nonsense” the idea of loyalty to a common European flag.
EURASIAN UNION: Foreign Policy Premiere of President Putin – EUInside, June 6, 2012 – Putin is using his foreign trips to clarify his ideas about the Eurasian union. This topic was present in almost all of his meetings so far. Belarus is very dependent on Russian aid and even during Putin’s visit in Minsk a third loan was agreed for the troubled Belarusian economy…
UNASUR: UNASUR calls for integrated armed forces, said Venezuelan Minister – Prensa Latina, June 6, 2012 – Venezuelan Defense Minister General Henry Rangel stated here that the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) calls for the integration and consolidation of the Armed forces from the member countries of the bloc. In statements to Prensa Latina, Rangel pointed out that separate armed forces for friendly countries cannot continue to exist and that these ought to become South American armed forces.
Ecuador has a plan for creating a UNASUR criminal court – BBC News, June 7, 2012 – Ecuador on Wednesday unveiled a project to create an international criminal tribunal of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), according to the agency Efe.
NORTH AMERICA: Buy North American to Build Border Bridge, Say Steelworkers – Exchange Morning Post, June 6, 2012 – “A strong Buy North American policy can support manufacturing in both Canada and the United States,” says Ken Neumann, United Steelworkers (USW) National Director.…“Canada must support using North American construction materials, especially steel, to build the new [Windsor-Detroit] bridge. We’ve agreed to pay the whole shot, so we should insist on Buy North American,” says Neumann.
Napolitano’s strategy to protect Northern border a diversion, say critics – Examiner, June 6, 2012 – “The Northern Border Strategy provides a unifying framework for the Department’s work focused on enhancing the security and resiliency along our northern border while expediting legitimate travel and trade with Canada,” she said. But several state and local law enforcement officials told the Law Enforcement Examiner that they did not share Secretary Napolitano’s enthusiasm. They claim she may be attempting to divert attention from southern border with Mexico…
EUROPEAN UNION: Germany’s Chancellor Merkel urges EU political union – BBC News, June 7, 2012 – German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the EU needs a political union even if it means some countries integrating faster than others. Speaking on German TV, she called for “more Europe”, including a budgetary union, saying “we need a political union first and foremost”.
EURASIAN UNION: The Common Economic Space – like the EU, but better – Business New Europe, June 7, 2012 – “[Putin’s] priority will be developing trade ties with key EU players and China, while strengthening the relations with those former Soviet counties that could become the core of the Eurasian Union envisaged by Putin.” ….And the recent global meltdown has turned out to be a boon for the project. “The crisis that began in 2007 made everyone see that we need to enhance our integration…”
EU says Russia breaking WTO rules ahead of entry – Reuters, June 6, 2012 – Negotiations between Russia and the EU towards a comprehensive economic and political agreement have also stalled, and Brussels is concerned by President Vladimir Putin’s plan to develop a “Eurasian union” of ex-Soviet states, including Kazakhstan and Belarus. At a summit with EU leaders in St Petersburg on Monday, Putin told them they would have to deal with this new economic alliance.
GCC (GULF UNION), ARAB LEAGUE: Gulf states and Turkey going all-out against Syria – Muslim News (UK), June 6, 2012 – Turkey and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states have acquired their own agendas too. And they are poised to engage fully in the ongoing war in Syria…. Having attempted to take over the Arab League, they are shifting focus to strengthening their hold over the Arab world’s economies and financial and investment sectors.
SAARC: Bid time for importing power from India extended – Financial Express (Bangladesh), June 6, 2012 – Officials said the electricity from India will help ease Bangladesh’s electricity crisis….It will also help establish a South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) electricity grid. Currently India has a power link with Bhutan.
GCC (GULF UNION): Kuwait Speaker urges democracy before Gulf union – Arab Times (Kuwait), June 6, 2012 – Gulf monarchies must respect human rights, freedom of expression and allow for popular participation before turning the six-nation council into a union, Kuwait’s parliament speaker said on Thursday. “It is inevitable that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states will have no choice but to improve their relations to an advanced form of a union,” Ahmad al-Saadun said on his Twitter account.
North Korea increasing South East Asia ties – Radio Australia, June 5, 2012 – Cambodia’s Foreign Minister, Hor Namhong is believed to have extended an invitation to the North Korean Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun to attend the ASEAN Regional Forum in Phnom Penh next month.
EUROPEAN UNION: U.S. piles pressure on Europe for fiscal, financial union – Reuters, June 5, 2012 – The United States piled pressure on European governments on Tuesday to take a bold step toward financial and fiscal union to prevent the euro zone debt crisis from further derailing a stumbling global economic recovery….It was the first official statement from any G7 member country to acknowledge that European Union leaders are actively working on a sweeping plan for deeper political integration, long pressed by the United States and financial markets as a way to underpin the future of the euro currency.
ASEAN: US lobbies for use of ‘Law of the Sea’ in South China Sea dispute – Radio Australia, June 5, 2012 – It is a major shift by the US which has always refused to ratify the 1982 Convention…. The South China Sea is claimed by China, Taiwan and four ASEAN states – Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei.
SAARC: NATO plans new Afghan mission after 2014 – Times of India, June 5, 2012 – Moscow: Afghanistan and NATO have agreed to develop a plan for a new international peacekeeping mission in the country after 2014 when Afghan forces take full control of the security, NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Monday….NATO will provide funding for the mission at an estimated $4.1 billion a year….
Pakistan, India industrial chambers for promoting trade – Hill Post (India), June 4, 2012 – To boost trade in the subcontinent, a visiting delegation of Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry signed a memorandum of understanding with PHD Chambers for enhancing cooperation among industrialists, businessmen and entrepreneur community of India and Pakistan….[RCCI Vice President Iqbal Ahmed] said that in times today, trading blocks like Euro zone, ASEAN were doing substantial business with their own regions but trade in the SAARC countries was yet to take off.
EUROPEAN UNION: Germany Pushes EU Bank Oversight – Wall Street Journal, June 5, 2012 – German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday suggested that European Union leaders consider putting the largest banks in the 27-nation bloc under direct European supervision, opening the door to more centralized oversight of the region’s financial sector.
EU tells Putin not to doubt the euro – New Europe, June 5, 2012 – European Commission President Barroso….added that “the debate now in the European Union is not how we are going to undo the integration. The debate is about how we are going to further deepen the integration to complement our monetary union with a full economic union….No one should be in any doubt – there is absolute commitment in the European Union and in the Euro area to the euro and to the solidity and further integration of all our efforts.”
EURASIAN UNION: Putin promotes Eurasian union at EU summit – EurActiv, June 5, 2012 – Putin told EU leaders that they should “take into account” the decision of Belarus and Kazakhstan to commit to the Customs Union’s conditions, compatible with WTO rules, and support those two countries’ bids to join the WTO. “The idea of the Eurasian Economic Union, if based on the WTO-rules, could lead to positive contribution to trade, prosperity and cooperation,” he said.
UNASUR: Rep. Daza provides historical decline of the OAS – Union Radio (Venezuela), June 5, 2012 – The Latin American Parliament deputy, Roy Daza, argues that the OAS was never intended by its creators as a body integration of the countries on equal terms in the range of cooperation and respectability. He noted that while emerging strongly UNASUR, “we are witnessing historically what would be the end of the OAS.” “It was the instrument that was built from almost 50 years of U.S. imperialist policy which had its historic resulting in the creation of the OAS…”
Unasur defense ministers will meet in Paraguay on Tuesday – teleSur TV, June 4, 2012 – The defense ministers of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) will meet on Tuesday in the Paraguayan capital of Asuncion….Those responsible for security of UNASUR will meet one week after they agreed a blueprint to design and produce the first South American military aircraft primary training base. The development of the aircraft, which will be renamed the “Unasur-I” was decided at the extraordinary meeting of the South American Defense Council, held last November in Lima.
EUROPEAN UNION: Germany Signals Crisis Shift – Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2012 – Behind the scenes, Europeans are working to pull together a “grand plan” as proposed at May’s EU summit, a senior European Union official said. He said Germany was “willing to play ball in a grand design but at the obvious price of more transfer of sovereignty on fiscal matters.”
Europe Should Use Bloc’s Rescue Fund to Save Banks, Borg Says – Bloomberg, June 4, 2012 – Swedish Finance Minister Anders Borg said euro-area members should “seriously” consider tapping the region’s rescue fund to help troubled banks as the debt crisis worsens….Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on June 2 called for a more robust “banking union” in Europe, lending his support for a centralized system to re-capitalize struggling lenders.
ASEAN: Debate over ASEAN banking integration – Jakarta Post, June 4, 2012 – As a part of the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint, ASEAN central bank governors endorsed the ASEAN Banking Integration Framework (ABIF) on April 7, 2011….To ensure a successful implementation of the ABIF, four conditions have been agreed upon. First is the harmonization of regulations. Second is the building of financial stability infrastructure. Third is providing capacity building for the BCLMV [Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam]. Fourth is setting up agreed criteria for ASEAN Qualified Banks (QAB) to operate in any ASEAN country with a single “passport.”
AFRICAN UNION: African Union, EU call for “concerted international action” to solve Guinea-Bissau crisis – Afrique en Ligue, June 3, 2012 – In their view, the situation in Guinea-Bissau requires concerted international action between the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP), the United Nations and the European Union, to restore constitutional order, lead the reform of the defence and security sector as well as fight against drug trafficking and impunity in the country.
Sadc wants Zuma for AU post – Newsday (Zimbabwe), June 4, 2012 – The Southern African development Community (Sadc) on Friday reiterated its support for the candidacy of Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for the chair of the African Union (AU) Commission.
EUROPEAN UNION, EURASIAN UNION: Putin: Visa Deal Key for EU-Russia Relations – Moscow Times, June 4, 2012 – [EU Council President Herman van Rompuy] said he welcomed a Eurasian Union “if it adheres to WTO rules.” Moscow signed its access protocol for the World Trade Organization in December and is expected to enter fully later this year.
GCC (GULF UNION): Gulf union high on agenda in GCC ministerial talks – Gulfnews, June 4, 2012 – A report on the proposal to form a Gulf union will figure high on the agenda of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) foreign ministers’ meeting on Tuesday, the GCC secretary-general has said.
Insights into HRH the Premier’s speech, futuristic visions of world economics – Bahrain News Agency, June 4, 2012 – HRH Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa the Prime Minister’s speech before the World Economic Forum for East Asia (ASEAN) held in Thailand on 31 May 2012 in the presence of heads of states and governments from the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), constitutes a realistic vision for what relations between the GCC and ASEAN countries should be like….It is clear from the speech of HRH the Prime Minister that there is a complete understanding on the part of HRH the Prime Minister as the significance of cooperation collectively and individually between the GCC countries and great global economic blocs of which ASEAN community is a major one citing the challenges and economic crunches sustained throughout the world in recent years which had their adverse impact on the economies of many countries.
SOUTH PACIFIC: Pacific Island Forum nations encouraged to trade with Asia – Radio Australia, June 4, 2012 – The relationship we are looking at really is how can the Pacific countries learn more from the experience of the Asian countries and to a certain extent seek to replicate if not use some of the mechanisms which have been proven to be successful initiatives of regional integration.
UNASUR: Support creation of UNASUR Criminal Court to fight drug trafficking – Andina (Peru), June 2, 2012 (Google Translation) – [Peru Attorney General] Jose Pelaez Bardales, considered [it] important to create an International Criminal Court at the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) to combat drug trafficking in the region….He added that it would be necessary to establish a treaty involving legal procedures to be followed by states that choose to participate in the International Court and, finally, define the jurisdiction that such court shall have all the territory of UNASUR.
EUROPEAN UNION: Spain calls for new euro fiscal authority – CNBC| Reuters, June 2, 2012 – “The European Union needs to reinforce its architecture,” [Spain’s Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy] said at an event in Sitges, in the north-eastern province of Catalonia. “This entails moving towards more integration, transferring more sovereignty, especially in the fiscal field. “And this means a compromise to create a new European fiscal authority which would guide the fiscal policy in the euro zone, harmonies the fiscal policy of member states and enable a centralized control of (public) finances,” he added.
ASEAN: Strong case for ASEAN integration – The Star (Malaysia), June 3, 2012 – Despite the painful lessons from Europe, ASEAN nations are moving towards integration as a way to boost regional resilience against external shocks.
UNASUR: Strategic Alliance Between Peru and Russia – AQPSoluciones Noticias, June 2, 2012 – The Peruvian minister said the Peru-Russia relationship “is going to be something pretty big. We want to turn this into a strategic partnership, not a short-term relationship, “and that [at] the Arab summit, UNASUR will help forge the independent role of South America in the global economy.
GULF UNION: GCC Customs Union holds its first meeting in Riyadh – Bahrain News Agency, June 2, 2012 – The Director General of Saudi Customs, the Chairman of the meeting, Saleh Al Khiliwi said in his speech that the meeting is considered an announcement of the start of the Authority’s work to implement its assigned tasks, highlighting that they hope that the Authority will be a good start to continue the Gulf Union’s march.
New Dawn 2012: Iraq Without the US Military – Second Line of Defense, June 2, 2012 – Iran and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, led by Saudi Arabia, have been the most prominent rivals for influence in Iraq, competing directly and through local proxies. Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and other GCC governments oppose Tehran’s ambitions but lack the means to balance Iranian influence in Iraq, so they appear to be turning to Turkey to defend Sunni interests there.
EUROPEAN UNION: Ireland approves European Union fiscal treaty – Los Angeles Times, June 2, 2012 – The pact obliges countries to keep their budget deficits to 3% of gross domestic product or less and caps the amount of government debt they can rack up. Breaching the rules can result in heavy fines. Only Ireland has put the accord to a popular vote….But opponents warned that Ireland was surrendering some of its hard-won sovereignty. They also object to the punishing austerity cuts that Ireland has imposed in exchange for being bailed out by its European partners and the International Monetary Fund.
NORTH AMERICA: New cross-border shopping rules take effect – Calgary Herald, June 1, 2012 – They mean that residents returning to Canada after being out of the country for at least 24 hours will be exempt from paying duties or taxes on up to $200 of goods purchased abroad, an increase from the previous limit of $50. Those returning to the country after 48 hours abroad are entitled to an exemption of $800, up from the previous limit of $400….Menzies said the changes will harmonize the exemptions available to Canadian consumers with those available on the U.S. side of the border to returning American travellers.
AFRICAN UNION: Africa free trade zone in operation by 2018 – Coastweek (Kenya), June 1, 2012 – Africa’s free trade zone is expected to be operational by the end of 2017, a senior AU official said. Chairperson of the African Union Commission Jean Ping said in Nairobi that this will be achieved through the merger of all African regional trade blocks.
EUROPEAN UNION, EURASIAN UNION: Odd Man Out: Will Armenia be able to integrate into European free trade zone bypassing Russia? – Armenia Now, June 1, 2012 – Armenia’s rapid European integration with the EU is seen by many analysts as part of an attempt by the EU to quickly gain a foothold in the South Caucasus to oust Russia from some of its current zones of influence. Russia’s newly elected President Vladimir Putin is known to be actively promoting the idea of establishing a Eurasian Union, a new economic reintegration project in the post-Soviet space.
ASEAN: ASEAN leaders reaffirm commitment to common market by 2015 – People’s Daily (China), June 1, 2012 – Leaders of four ASEAN countries reaffirmed the 10-member grouping’s commitment to form the ASEAN Economic Community as scheduled in 2015. Speaking at the opening ceremony of the World Economic Forum on East Asia in Bangkok today, they also raised hopes that the common market will eventually include other countries in East Asia and beyond.
UNASUR: UNASUR discusses creating regional human rights body – People’s Daily | Xinhua (China), June 1, 2012 (Google Translation link)- Delegates from the foreign ministries of member countries of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) discuss a proposal today in Quito in Ecuador to create a Human Rights Coordination of the regional group.